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seeing is believing
September 28, 2009 3:45 PM   Subscribe

What global warming looks like - Some amazing time lapse sequences of glacier retreat and a spectacular ice-shelf collapse:

BONUS
-Freeman Dyson on Charlie Rose
-First Comes Global Warming, Then an Evolutionary Explosion
-Humpty Dumpty and the Ghosts
-Earth's Period of Habitability Is Nearly Over
-ICE Satellite Maps Profound Polar Thinning
-Four degrees and beyond
-Bjørn Lomborg switches tack
-Jared Diamond lunch interview
-Consumerism is 'eating the future'
-Scientists seek global limits on damaging human activities
posted by kliuless (54 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Earth's Period of Habitability Is Nearly Over..."

*gasp*

"...on a cosmological timescale. In a half to one billion years the Sun will start to be too luminous and warm for water to exist in liquid form on Earth, leading to a runaway greenhouse effect in less than 2 billion years."

Misleading headline is misleading.
posted by you just lost the game at 3:51 PM on September 28, 2009


AHEM

What alleged global warming allegedly looks like - Some allegedly amazing time lapse alleged sequences of alleged glacier retreat and an allegedly spectacular alleged ice-shelf alleged collapse.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:54 PM on September 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Just mentioning this dynamic for the sake of mentioning.

My favorite argument against Global Warming is that there are, to paraphrase [still lingering questions and scientists doing studies about our current research]. Yes. You're exactly right doubters, but we call that "science." And the reality of global warming is very much agreed upon by enough the scientific community that we can legitimately call it a "scientific fact." And as a scientific fact, it is subject to any other research and questions that are prosed.

But it's still a fact none the less. Not a theory. Not an allegation. The fact that you can question science with more science (rather are SUPPOSED to) does not in any way take away from the validity of a given conclusion or consensus. That is until the new question or theory becomes the new consensus.

This is what drives me nuts about junk science above all else. Saying "there's still some questions!" or a lack of a total consensus is asinine. It's the equivalent of giving up all sense of reality and throwing your hands up into the air and saying "NOTHING IS TRUE! NOTHING IS REAL!"

Come on folks.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 4:05 PM on September 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


prosed = posed. d'oh.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 4:06 PM on September 28, 2009


Just playing devil's advocate here, but weren't sea levels rising and glaciers retreating before the industrial revolution?
posted by mullingitover at 4:18 PM on September 28, 2009


Tangent: There are no missing links, but rather leaps in evolution. "The mutations may remain dormant for several generations before suddenly manifesting as a new feature."

See also: Sociobiology and Scientific Reductionism: Redux (PDF, Google HTML-ization).
posted by filthy light thief at 4:20 PM on September 28, 2009


Just playing devil's advocate here, but weren't sea levels rising and glaciers retreating before the industrial revolution?
posted by mullingitover at 4:18 PM on September 28 [+] [!]


Yes. But it's about the rates of acceleration and deceleration in these processes. Not that they actually happen.

The tricky thing about judging the data on global warming is that it's purely systemic. A specific spot on earth can show results that indicate global warming is actually reversing. But that's not the totality of the situation. It's about looking at the whole. What happens when you look at every spot on earth? You get a sense of how the system is behaving. Which is what is important. My favorite is misuse of data is when these anti-global warming scientists quote data from areas from a year being affected from el nino/la nina. That's always a hoot.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 4:33 PM on September 28, 2009


STOP MAKING IT HARD FOR ME TO PRETEND THIS ISN'T HAPPENING

I CAN'T HEAR YOU

LALALALALALA
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:33 PM on September 28, 2009


> Just playing devil's advocate here, but weren't sea levels rising and glaciers retreating before the industrial revolution?

Well, roughly between the 13th and 19th centuries we had the Little Ice Age.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:44 PM on September 28, 2009


Also from the We're Fucked Files: One study, published in the prestigious journal Science, forecast that, by 2048, all commercial fish stocks will have “collapsed,” meaning that they will be generating 10 percent or less of their peak catches.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:48 PM on September 28, 2009


seeing is believing

No, not really. Trust me. If you'd seen the people who don't believe the things they see, you'd believe me.
posted by Eideteker at 5:08 PM on September 28, 2009 [6 favorites]


> Just playing devil's advocate here, but weren't sea levels rising and glaciers retreating before the industrial revolution?

Well, roughly between the 13th and 19th centuries we had the Little Ice Age.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:44 PM on September 28 [+] [!]


Yeah. And the "little ice ages" are caused by warming. How? To put it simply, earth gets hot for whatever reason (historically is been massive vegetation), the caps melt, water becomes cooler, cool water makes air cooler, then it's a little ice age. The big worry of these is that when the water gets cool enough it can trigger a reversal of ocean currents. These are the big bads of global warming, because that's what spurs on the BIG ice ages. The "death to lots of living things" ice ages. And guess what, the drastic acceleration of occurrences in el nino/la nina? YEAH. That's what we call a "terrible sign"

And for the record for all my talk on this global warming subject, Oceanography is indeed where I'm coming from on all of it.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 5:16 PM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


See also Google Earth CO15 visualisation plugin.
posted by pompomtom at 5:20 PM on September 28, 2009


Just to add to Joe Beese's link above, here's a CBC radio show about Alanna Mitchell's "Sea Sick", which covers several of the most pressing threats to the world's oceans, one of which is increasing atmospheric CO2. Very scary stuff.
posted by sneebler at 5:48 PM on September 28, 2009


When do we start to see Shoggoths washing over the southern shores? I can say that unfreezing the plateau of Leng is a Very Bad Idea.
posted by qvantamon at 6:20 PM on September 28, 2009 [3 favorites]


What alleged global warming allegedly looks like - Some allegedly amazing time lapse alleged sequences of alleged glacier retreat and an allegedly spectacular alleged ice-shelf alleged collapse.

You can allegedly go fuck your alleged self.

Maybe I'm being too sensitive. Maybe the meds aren't working anymore, maybe it's just the depression. But I'm fucking tired of the idiot running the show. I'm fucking tired of truthers, birthers, global warming deniers, and those who believe in the strong market theory.

Three shots at 100 yards in seven seconds with a bolt action rifle from a fucking Marine is trivial, and bouncing bullets do magical things.

The towers fell because two large fucking plane flew into them and set them on fire. The third tower fell because large bits of the two fucking towers fell into it and set it on fire.

Humanity is destroying the fucking planet.

Deal with it.
posted by eriko at 6:22 PM on September 28, 2009 [4 favorites]


Whilst agree with your screed Eriko, I'm pretty sure Shakesperian was being sarcastic.
weren't you?
posted by nudar at 6:45 PM on September 28, 2009


eriko, I think you might want to check the batteries on your sarcasm detector.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 6:45 PM on September 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was thinking that he was referring to a Marine shooting a glacier or ice shelf, causing it to detach, before I grokked what he was saying.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:59 PM on September 28, 2009


There is overwhelming proof now that the planetary environment is releasing the water held in glaciers specificly to dilute the toxicity levels in the oceans because we have been using them as industrial toilets.

The significance of my theory is that it establishes scientific proof that the natural environment of the planet makes definitive choice in a manner at least similar similar to the way that living beings, e.g. persons or animals, do.

A startling revelation it is, yes?
posted by RoseyD at 7:46 PM on September 28, 2009 [1 favorite]


I do wonder about the wisdom of saying "look at this spectacular ice-shelf collapse" when your other side is saying "no, the fact that this summer was cold is meaningless vis a vis global warming".
posted by smackfu at 7:58 PM on September 28, 2009


You can tell I was being serious because I said 'alleged ice-shelf'.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:26 PM on September 28, 2009 [2 favorites]


RoseyD: wtf?
posted by odinsdream at 8:46 PM on September 28, 2009


Thank Bog that Feebus is going to pass our human forms through the Rupture and none of this will matter.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 8:47 PM on September 28, 2009


A startling revelation it is, yes?

While I wouldn't disagree that the planet as a whole is some kind of huge organism that we little protozoan really don't have the perceptive frame of reference to compute, I'm pretty sure your theory is bollocks.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:03 PM on September 28, 2009


RoseyD, you've only got a few more months to take your overwhelming proof and earn one million dollars. Hurry!
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:09 PM on September 28, 2009


odinsdream :wtf?

It's either/or.
Bollocks is a word of Anglo-Saxon origin, meaning "testicles". The word is often used figuratively in British English, as a noun to mean "nonsense", an expletive following a minor accident or misfortune, or an adjective to mean "poor quality" or "useless". Similarly, the common phrases "Bollocks to this!" or "That's a load of old bollocks" generally indicate contempt for a certain task, subject or opinion.

Conversely, the word also figures in idiomatic phrases such as "the dog's bollocks" and "top bollock(s)", which usually refer to something which is admired, approved of or well-respected.
Hat tip : Burhanistan
posted by RoseyD at 9:13 PM on September 28, 2009


Hey, that climate change graph - the one showing the relationship between temperature, sea level, and CO2 levels over time ... is there some lovely large-format version of that I can get somewhere (either orderable or printable)? I'd love to have that in my classroom, since I'm teaching this stuff to middle school students. I've seen plenty of graphs online, but none with the simple clarity of that one (or the one in Inconvenient Truth).

I'm showing this TED talk to my Field Ecology eighth graders on Wednesday. Thanks for posting it.
posted by Chanther at 9:53 PM on September 28, 2009


Behind the Furor Over a Climate Change Skeptic
posted by homunculus at 9:58 PM on September 28, 2009


Acknowledging global warming is such a noble feat, all the while running that air conditioning whilst you recycle your milk cartons to the best of your ability.

The simple fact of the matter is we're all doomed--I don't care what it is, we're doomed. It's either the Russians, Japs or Chinese, or it's shark attacks, SARS or pig flu. The financial crisis will continue forever (we were far too greedy, so it must). We're going to run out of oil too, but I guess that's a good thing given global warming. I think we should just use alternative energies, like wind energy, and produce electricity 2300% more expensive than burning coal--never mind the effect of such cost increases on the lower class or on developing economies. Wait, energy is a thing everyone deserves, so let's tax the rich and have them pay for it for everyone. Health care too.

It's all so simple: wind energy + universal health care = global success and overturning of global warming

Capitalism does not work best. Communism does. The Chinese have it all wrong.
posted by stevenstevo at 11:42 PM on September 28, 2009


Hey global warming can't be happening because I'm outside in a thick coat and it's only September. And everyone knows that weather stations are placed deliberately next to large bonfires in inner city heat islands. And CO2 is actually good for plants.

Besides, I've just bought a new SUV and as long as I still live in a free country I'll drive what I damn well please.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:33 AM on September 29, 2009


RoseyD: Communication fail. Seriously. I have no idea what the string of words you presented mean.
posted by odinsdream at 6:34 AM on September 29, 2009


Communism and Gaia for everyone!
posted by Burhanistan at 6:50 AM on September 29, 2009


People seem to be more or less blithely going on with their lives, but this shit is really scary. I don't think the average person really considers what life will be like if we let this go on and keep pumping CO2 and other warming gases into the atmosphere. I guess it's kinda too horrifying, so maybe people just try not to think about it much. And it's also a ways into the future, and anything more than 20 years out, well, we'll come up with some amazing technology to save us, because we always do. Until we can't...

Even worse, the permafrost is melting in the Antarctic now. Every 1% of the permafrost that melts spews out the equivalent of one year of human-based pollution. So if all of it melts, that'd be the equivalent of all the pollution the human race has ever produced *combined*. If that begins to happen, then it's going to be time to start seriously thinking about some of the more radical emergency measures.

Every time they readjust their modeled projections, they're always worse than previously predicted. And they haven't really even factored in the sea level rise from Antarctic and Greenland ice melt AT ALL -- because they don't know enough, they say. Well, I know enough to say THEY'RE MELTING! And they will add a lot to global sea level rise, so whatever projections there are, it's going to be waaaay worse than that.

I'm 45 now. I could possibly live to see 2050 A.D. If I do, my projection is: it's going to be really, really bad by then, MUCH worse than any current projection. I'm high enough up that sea level won't get me, and I have a durable source of fresh water. My worries are more about civil unrest, the collapse of society, loss of services, that kind of thing.

I hope we as a species do collectively get together and work HARD on this. If that means my electric bills double, so be it. That'd certainly cut down on coal usage, just like high gas prices forced people to rethink gas-guzzling SUVs last year. We're either going to pay some price now, or an unimaginably HUGE price later.
posted by jamstigator at 7:03 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]


jamstigator:

Horrifying is right. I absolutely agree with you that it's going to be very, very bad. Much worse than even the most pessimistic people are saying. I'm siding with Vonnegut on this. The game is over. There is no solution. At night I dream of topographical maps.

I mean, sure, when our neighborhood has their annual block party and our councilman stops by to chat, we talk about how the recycling program is set up, whether we should get larger bins, should we go to a single-stream processing system, and so on. We chat about how cool it is that he recently spearheaded a city tree ordinance, and also pushed hard to convert the city bus fleet to alternative fuels... biodiesel and natural gas, with other plans in the works. We buy food locally when possible, I personally know the lady who farms our vegetables. I pick them up on the way home from work so there's literally zero additional carbon output related to their transportation.

That's all just dandy. Yep, certainly is. Until the storms, and the migrations, and the rationing. That shit is another level. What exactly is someone who isn't retired SpecOps supposed to do with such a dire forecast except carry on as usual and fuss about recycling? Hell if I know.
posted by odinsdream at 7:49 AM on September 29, 2009


This is very disturbing footage.
posted by dejah420 at 8:16 AM on September 29, 2009


You two could start a cult about the end of the world. But with science!
posted by smackfu at 8:22 AM on September 29, 2009


A TV advert paid for by an oil industry lobbyist telling Americans "more CO2 results in a greener earth" would be almost funny if it weren't so depressing
posted by homunculus at 9:11 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


odinsdream, mind is not in brains, but between brains. The heroic epoch is past, we are now here. And the place is a mess. Let's clean it up. We don't 'got to', we get to. We don't 'have to', we can. The ice will come back soon enough.
posted by RoseyD at 10:26 AM on September 29, 2009


Don't be credulous, global warming is a hoax. I bet none of the "scientists" ever told you about this simple FACT!
posted by Bangaioh at 11:09 AM on September 29, 2009


More water results in a greener Earth too. But tell that to the people in Manila, if they can hear you while they're underwater.
posted by jamstigator at 11:37 AM on September 29, 2009


RoseyD: Again with the communicating. It's like you're saying words, I know you are, but I just.. can't... assemble them into ideas.
posted by odinsdream at 4:43 PM on September 29, 2009


You can tell I was being serious because I said 'alleged ice-shelf'.

I have been trolled. I have lost.

Sorry, Shakes -- was having a bad day, and the parser wasn't working.
posted by eriko at 7:13 PM on September 29, 2009


mmm . . . think janitorially, act globally?
posted by RoseyD at 7:42 PM on September 29, 2009


LOLerskates
posted by Burhanistan at 7:47 PM on September 29, 2009


This is very disturbing footage.

Disturbing to those who can comprehend the impact, yes. Actionable, though? I'm not so certain that we're haven't crossed the point of no return. At best, our slight remediation may delay, just as slightly, the inevitable reaction to our prior actions.

The true horror, to me, is not that our world leaders may be pushing back out of a lack of comprehension - it's that they may be pushing back out of full and informed comprehension. For all we know, our world leaders believe that it may actually be cheaper to push resources into space travel and offworld colonization that it would be to attempt to manually correct this issue.

But, it's late and I'm pessimistic today.
posted by FormlessOne at 11:14 PM on September 29, 2009


There's a lot of pessimism in here today. It seems like some of you have gone straight from "what greenhouse gas problem? why should I do anything about it?" to "OMG we'll never be able to fix it! Let's not do anything!". For everyone saying there's nothing to be done, what have you got against these ideas?

No new coal mines.
No subsidies for coal.
No subsidies for Big Ag.
High-speed rail.
Hardcore urban planning for public transport and bike lanes and walkable communities.
New building regulations about minimum efficiency.
New appliance regulations about minimum efficiency.
Investment in clean energy research.
End deforestation, revegetate the areas we have left.

Forget the recycling (well, don't, it's quite important and possibly part of foreplay), but try to think bigger. Given the grassroots efforts that went into getting Obama elected, I'm surprised that people in the USA think there's no point trying to do anything about climate change.

If it's personal actions you want rather than activism, go plastic-free, try meat-free Mondays or week-day vegetarianism, use the public transport in your area (or campaign to get it changed if it's too crap for you to use), switch to green power, start a vegie patch, consume less, get a green roof. There are actually millions of people doing these things already - it's not just you by yourself.

Half of this stuff has been on Metafilter already, if you want to do something instead of wringing your hands about how hopeless it is. Action is the antidote to despair. Hell, at the very least you could contact your elected official and remind them that they represent you, not fossil fuel companies, and you want them to cut subsidies so the market can operate freely.

If you saw wilful's 350.org thread earlier, you know 350ppm of CO2e is the safe upper limit. We're at 389ppm now. It's not *that* far to claw back to, if we start now.
posted by harriet vane at 4:01 AM on September 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


eriko:
Sorry, Shakes -- was having a bad day, and the parser wasn't working.


Exploding highfives all around.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:23 AM on September 30, 2009


Exploding highfives all around.

Boo-yeah. Fingers are for the weak. KA-POW!
posted by eriko at 5:40 AM on September 30, 2009


harriet vane: I'd like to clarify that my comments above do not mean I think there's nothing worth doing. It's perfectly great to do all of the things you mentioned. In my own life I strive to be as low-impact as possible. I'm simply musing about the very real possibility that there exists a turning point and that the location of that turning point may in fact be in the past.
posted by odinsdream at 5:52 AM on September 30, 2009


I have a weird theory about an indirect effect of global warming. The theory is this: earthwuakes will increase in frequency and severity, with the increase being higher closer to the equator and peaking at fragile tectonic areas on or near the equator.

My reasoning is this: as warming melts glacial ice and the runoff flows to the ocean, sea levels rise. But because of the Earth's rotation, more of that water mass will locate around the girth of the world, the equator -- sea level rise will be highest around the equator because of centrifugal force. (This is the reason the Earth is thicker through the 'waist', the equator, than it is through the poles.) Well, we've already seen manmade-caused earthquakes in China when they add a lot of mass on top of tectonic plates with their superdam projects, and so I would expect that to be the same all across the world as the extra water mass slowly sloshes and flows its way toward the equator.

The world is not completely geologically stable, but it whatever tectonic equilibrium it *has* achieved over the millenia, this will be disrupted by these large shifts in mass, and we should expect more earthquakes and resulting tsunamis. We may already be seeing evidence of that in the last week or so, although that's anecdotal at best for now. Somebody smart should put on a research hat and study this theory, prove it or disprove it. If true, it'd be important for coastal areas to have accurate models for their disaster planning.
posted by jamstigator at 5:53 AM on September 30, 2009


'Earthquakes', not 'earthwuakes'. My kingdom for an edit button!
posted by jamstigator at 5:54 AM on September 30, 2009


Oh, absolutely, odinsdream - that we might've already passed the point of no return is something that keeps me up some nights. But we don't know if it's happened yet, and probably won't know if/when it's too late until well after it's too late (sorry, not eloquent today). So I figure we keep trying until then.

Sort of like an Olympic athlete who knows that it'll be a photo finish between him and 3 other guys. He doesn't slow down towards the end of the race because there's no point trying. He tries harder, gives it everything he's got, just in case, and doesn't slow down until he's well past the finish line.
posted by harriet vane at 2:49 AM on October 1, 2009


Agreed absolutely. There's no good way to know if/when we've passed the tipping point, so it's only logical to continue working to stop it.
posted by odinsdream at 8:57 AM on October 1, 2009


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